Amanda Serrano retains belts in historic 12-round title bout

ORLANDO, Fla. — Amanda Serrano joked after Friday night’s bout that, after all of that, she still had enough energy to hold up her belts.

Serrano defeated Danila Ramos by unanimous decision, earning three 120-108 scores to retain the IBF, WBO and WBA titles. It was the first unified women’s championship fight contested at 12 three-minute rounds.

It was a night Serrano had hoped would be a potential change for women’s boxing.

“I hope this is just the beginning, the start,” Serrano said in the ring after the fight. “I know I have other women following me in my footsteps.”

At the end, Serrano and Ramos hugged near the center of the ring. There were no knockdowns, no dynamic finishes — just a strong 12-round fight for the WBA, WBO and IBF featherweight titles.

It was in the championship rounds, where Serrano and Ramos had not been before, where the fight had its most electrifying moments — including chants of “Amanda! Amanda! Amanda!” reverberating throughout the sellout crowd at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, where Puerto Rican flags sat on every seat and were waved liberally throughout the night.

Serrano shined in those rounds. Her best punch of the night might have been a straight right in the 10th, which landed flush on Ramos’ head. Serrano came close to getting a stoppage in that round, bringing the crowd to its feet for one of the few times all night.

It had been a vintage half-round from Serrano, what she had so often shown in the two-minute-round fights she’d been in for more than a decade. It continued throughout the 11th round as well, with the Serrano punching Ramos around the ring.

Not surprisingly with the increase in rounds and minutes per round, both Serrano and Ramos started the fight feeling each other out more than they would in a typical two-minute-round women’s fight. By the third, though, Serrano’s typical aggressive style started to pick up.

She landed some quality shots toward the end of the round. In the fourth, Serrano chased Ramos essentially around the ring, landing punch after punch as the clear aggressor, getting one of the first in-fight rises out of the crowd all night. Serrano had her typical flurries in the fifth, using her continuous, forward-moving style.

Serrano (46-2-1, 30 KO) landed 338 of 1,103 punches — averaging 92 punches a round, reminiscent of her typical style. Ramos (12-3, 1 KO) averaged 71 punches a round and landed 120 of 846 punches.

Friday night’s card felt like a Puerto Rican celebration throughout, featuring several fighters from the island. During Serrano’s walkout, Puerto Rican fighter Edgar Berlanga accompanied her while holding one of her belts, as the song “DE CAROLINA,” by Rauw Alejandro and DJ Playero, played through the loudspeakers.

Afterward, Serrano joked she would celebrate how she often does — with a burger and a milkshake, one perhaps even more necessary after fighting for 36 minutes instead of 20.

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